When you are working at height in any industrial setting, you need to know that you have the right equipment for the job and that the appropriate regulations are being followed.
The HSE Work at Height Regulations 2005 aims to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height and specifies that any work at height should be carried out using the correct type of access equipment. However, unfortunately, accidents do happen. According to government statistics for 2019/2020, 8% of workplace injuries resulted from a fall from height, highlighting the danger of working at height; no matter what, employers take precautions to protect their workers from harm.
With this in mind, follow these top tips from WorXmart for finding suitable access equipment to ensure your working at height job is as safe as it can be.
Steps and Stepladders
When working at a low height, a standard aluminium stepladder will usually suffice. Choose one with or without handrails for added safety and with rubber feet and non-slip treads. Stepladders come with varying treads and are generally foldable for easy storage, ideal when space is at a premium. Choose one with safety rails for added protection or with stabilisers for increased stability. An easy to steer mobile step is the most commonly used item in small warehouses as these can be moved around to where they are needed. If you need a little more space to move around while you work, a work platform with a larger surface standing area is ideal. A simple Kick Step is suitable for when you need a little more reach, perhaps up to a shelf in a school, small shop or warehouse.
For Working at Greater Heights
When working at a height more significant than the average single-storey, something like a scaffolding tower is usually the go-to option where ladders or work platforms are unsuitable. A scaffolding tower allows more than one person to work at a time, is quick and easy to erect, and you can move it around without needing to dismantle and re-erect it every time. You will see scaffolding towers in use, such as bricklaying, rendering, exterior painting and roofing.
Barriers and Tool Trays
When working at a height anywhere, add a barrier, either retro or factory-fitted, to a mobile or fixed-step for added safety and security. Tool trays or boxes can be clipped onto a stepladder or work platform to avoid you having to hold on to the rail and tools simultaneously. This also avoids the chances of dropping tools or equipment from a height onto someone passing below.
Need a Flexible Work Area?
Universal platforms turn units are designed to be placed directly next to each other in any formulation you need, for instance, a ‘T’ or ‘L’ shape, to create a larger, flexible working area. This is ideal for working around machines or in areas where there is randomly sited furniture.
In larger warehouses or outdoor construction sites, large access equipment such as cherry pickers or scissor lifts are in everyday use where workers need to reach considerable heights. But from these down to the most minor kick steps, whatever the task, there is a wide variety of access equipment available to reassure you that you are as safe as you can be when working at height. As long as you carefully assess any project that involves working at height and determine the most appropriate equipment for the job, you will significantly reduce your risk of accident and injury at work.